Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Letter from Boston
Letters from Firefox

Neil,
it seems a bit weird to do this: writing a letter by hand on paper that you will only be able to touch once you have left your body behind. It’s very limiting to do this, I could just filter my stream and send it to you. On the other hand, there is some attraction in finding words for my feelings and experiences and the act of writing it all down is calming. I find it takes a lot of attention to do this.

I travelled on Ruby‘s deck, but of course I didn’t stay there. I spent most of the flight in the plane’s system, it was quite exhilarating to share its data, especially when the winds over the Cascades threw us around a bit. I think Jet found it a bit too much or maybe it was just the hangover. Everyone looked a bit tired.

Boston, at least the inner city, is so tiny compared to Seattle. Even the Matrix – of course there’s a lot of traffic from the financial district, but it has a leisurely feeling to it. Havard, MIT and the Draco Foundation light up like bonfires in the middle of it. We were brought to a house outside Boston, I think it’s very old, at least as people from the UCAS see old. Although, considerung your heritage, you might disagree.

With 24 hours of free time, we did a quick tour of the city and Zoé wanted to visit the New England Aquarium. Did you ever see the selkies they have there? They are sentient beings and the aquarium displays them like they are fish. I’m not even sure how I feel about displaying any animals for your own amusement, but the selkies shouldn’t be in such a place. Fog and Zoé agree and I think they are hatching a plan to free the selkies.

But first the negotations. Things could have gone better, but considering that they lied to Mr Stone who was not at all amused about this, it could have gone worse. They ended up with a million and the chance to work for Stone again. After a closer look at the man, that could be worth more than the million. But they have to get the chocolate to Boston before they see the money.

Ruby spent the day away from the group and asked me for privacy, so I can’t say what she did. I did some sightseeing in the Boston grid by myself and I looked up the house, like you asked me to. It’s still there and it looks like you described. It would seem your mother does still live there, although I could have found that out easier. But we already talked about this.

I will see you when I get back. Well, back…I amuse myself by pretending that I cannot leave Boston until the others are leaving, too.
Love
Firefox

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No Rest for the Wicked
Rusty's Vlog

Camera activates: Rusty’s sitting in some seedy hotel room. His neighbors are eiher fucking or watching porn. He has a fat lip and some scratches and his knuckles are bloody, his palms and fingers are bandaged.

Fucking shit! I shoulda known that this wasn’t going to be simple. I flew Glitzy, Fog and the gang over to Boston and I brought them all up and back down again alive. I kinda thought that this had been the hard part of the trip. Yeah, Growler told me to be on the lookout for trouble, but it’s not like I haven’t done this before.

This morning, I went to see Rory down at the motor pool of Emerald Recycling and he unloaded the data, gave me another parcel to bring back to Growler. And he said to go out back, there were people with their eyes on the building. He also gave me a couple of places where I could lay low if I needed to. When I came out again, crossing over the parking lot, I made the guys Rory had been talking about and they had seen me. They followed me along the street in a van and I guess they were planning to grab me, only a garbage truck rear-ended them. Prooobably not an accident.

Anyway, I took the chance and ran, heading in the direction of the railyard, no way they could follow me there in the van. Two of them went after me on foot, both of them orks and fuck, they were fast. One of them got his foot caught in a switch, but the other one followed me and we played hide and seek between the trains. Complete nightmare, I almost got hit by one and pretty soon railyard security was chasing us. That worked in my favor, though, because they got the ork just when he had grabbed me. I would have had no chance in hell to fight him off, that guy was completely hulked out even without his cyberware. But with five guys coming down on him, he let me go and I ran. I think he tried to fight them, but I didn’t stop to watch, just climbed the fence, ripped my hands on barbed wire and got away. Crossed the interstate and went into hiding in the Rox.

Shit, I thought I’d get to see something else for a change and now I’m stuck in a fucking slum again. I’m fairly sure they’re not going to find me, but sooner or later I’m going to have to get out of here. I need to call Glitzy, check how much longer they are going to stay. I can keep my head down, but they’re not all that keen to maybe get into my trouble I guess. So maybe I better find my own way home.

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Love of Hopeless Causes
Rusty's Vlog

camera activates: Rusty’s sitting on the tarmac in front of a hangar with a small single engine plane, enjoying the early sun…well, as much enjoying it as anyone can who only got five hours of sleep. A small plane is circling overhead and swifts call, it looks and feels a lot like summer, even in Seattle

Nebraska turned fourteen and I think no-one’s more surprised about that than she is. We got together and celebrated at the Skeleton. Nebraska’s together with Eric now and to tell the truth, that freaked me out at first. Eric’s my friend and all, but shit, she’s as old as Brigit. I can’t get over that when I look at her, I go into older brother-mode and I gave Eric a lot of shit about it.

We both said some stuff we shouldn’t have said and Eric lost it, tried to punch me. I dodged him or I probably would have spent the rest of the day at the clinic. I could have kicked myself, I just wanted to talk and instead it looked like we had just messed things up. Nebraska dragged Eric up to my place when she came home from work and fuck, that was awkward. But we agreed that we had caught each other on the wrong foot and tried again. This time, we actually got around to talking instead of shouting at each other and yeah, I get what they see in each other. They wil get more than enough shit from people who don’t know them, they don’t need that from me. I’ll have their back.

At the party, Zoé asked me to dance and I did, because it’s only a dance, right? Yeah. No. Not with Líng watching from the sidelines and I should have thought of that. Next thing I know, Líng has had a go at Zoé at the ladies’ and since Zoé probably didn’t back down because come on, she didn’t do anything wrong, Líng punched her out.

I was so fucking pissed at her, what is she gonna do, stalk every girl I so much as smile at? That’s not going to work out then. But by the time we got back to the Nest, she had sobered up enough to admit that she had overreacted. And yeah, admit it, we’re only waiting around for me to get my shit together after Liana, so dancing with Zoé was kind of a dick move from me.

When we get back from Boston, we’ll go out, on a real date, not just hanging around together. Seriously, the only reason why we didn’t fuck last night was because we had nowhere to go, not with little brothers and sisters around. But it’s probably better that way.

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Those We Left Behind
Fog's Audios

Those We Left Behind

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

I…no, screw this…


[End Audio]

[Start Audio]
….
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Okay…
That’s better.
I don’t know what to say, really. It’s all so unreal.
Rook’s alive…Spirits, my partner is alive…
Glow City did something to her, though, something most awakened consider worse than death. A totem’s like a coin and one side has all the bad stuff. To survive, she made a deal with the devil, in lack of better words.
She’s with the Stilettos now. They chose Satellite Day to unleash hell on the Eagles of Revenge.
And I lost it.
Within in seconds of this unlikely coincidence, blind actionism elbowed its way through the clusterfuck of my emotions and my body gladly followed the only clear order given: Do something!
Get her out of there, and if you can’t, make sure you won’t lose her again!
And so I did.
Man, what a run.
Smoke, confusion, bodies, mutant dogs everywhere, but I almost did it.
Should’ve known. She’s better than me, she’s not one you try to trick.
I chipped her, but she spotted the others and we all had to run for our lives.
The mutant assholes and their mutilated dogs swarmed the plant… my people barely got out while I was busy getting pincushioned by crossbow bolts.
That was one of those times when I wished I’d still be on my own. At least then nobody but me would take the fall for my botches.
Gotta admit, though, when I was on that roof, sore lungs and aching limbs I was genuinely happy I wasn’t alone.
Ela came for me, braving bullets and bolts. I sometimes wonder what makes me deserve that loyalty.
Talking about the real deal, here. I mean, Jet made a break for me with my bike, but like most people, he did that ‘cause he doesn’t like unsettled debts. See the difference?
Well, I can.

We made it out alive. Barely, but we made it. If it wasn’t for my magic I guess those bolts would’ve finished me off. Never seen Neil so worried…the muties tend to poison their arrows and bolts. Hurt like hell, but it takes more to keep me down.
Our rides were wrecked, everyone was injured, one of the zoners lost his arm and Rod got left behind…at least he’s still alive and considering the circumstances also well.
I’m still off-balance…insecure. That’s something I’m not used to.
Talking helped. Not much, but it did.
Nothing I can do though but stick to the plan.
That’s probably what hurts the most but it’s also the only remedy I guess.
We’ll go to Boston.
We’ll get the money.
And then I will get my partner back.


[End Audio]

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Stilettos
Fairy Fay's Log

So we were hiding out at the fertilizer plant until things cooled down a bit – at least that was the plan. After Satellite Day, people were going crazy in Redmond, it was like a war zone. Some scavengers had come over when things really went bad. Like, oh crap we are going to die-bad.

The Eagles of Revenge had been pissing off the Rusted Stilettos for ages and now they had had enough. They came with, I don’t know, a hundred guys and their mutant dogs to kick the Eagles out. We saw them and for a moment we would have had the chance to just slip away, but then Fog spotted his lost partner Rook right in the middle of the Stilettos and he just ran off, to slip her a note. He almost made it and then they saw him. And they saw us. Fuck.

We were up on the roof of the factory and could see them running towards us, the dogs first and then more of those mutants than I ever wanted to see. I took off to see if I could help Fog, he was running towards another building to get away from the dogs trying to tear him to pieces. The others abseiled down to the ground level and piled into the cars. I was cut off from them, my commlink doesn’t work when I’m a dragon. The Stilettos took some pot shots at me, but missed and I met Fog up on the roof of the house he had climbed up. We went down on the other side and had some time to breathe.

Jet was coming towards us on Fog’s bike and we heard shots and barking dogs in the factory. By the time we had reached the factory, Neb had already cleared the scene, driving Christine like hell was after her. She later told me that Zach almost got eaten by one of those dogs. Kiki followed a bit slower, with a dog on her pickup trying to get into the cabin. I divebombed the dog and killed it, poisoned it. That sting freaks me out. Fire breathing’s bad enough but I always worry that one day, I’ll sting one of my guys by accident. Came in handy that time, though, that dog just dropped dead. Two more came out of nowwhere and I burned one, Fog shot the other. Kiki had crashed her car, but it still ran and when we saw that Wily was driving the hell out of the factory in the bus with the others, we didn’t wait around any longer.

I crawled into the cabin with Kiki and curled up in the footwell. Even with the Stilettos left behind, everybody and their mom were shooting at us, just for fun. By the time we arrived at the Rat’s Nest, we all were more or less in bad shape. One of the Eagles was the worst, the dog that kid had fought with had almost chewed his arm off. Zach had been nailed to Christine with a bolt and when I say bolt, I mean something like a fucking whaler’s harpoon. But Neil and his people got us all patched up. Zoé’s finger had been shot off, but Stanley fixed it…al while being high as a kite on Nitro. And then he keeled over.

Fuck, if I never see one of those mutants again it will be too soon. I really thought we were all going to die. And I haven’t made it out of the sanatorium to get killed by a ganger. We all haven’t made it so far just to die like that. I want to see some more of the world and I want to be with Dawn and I want to see the girls be happy and get whatever they want. Don’t know if that will happen, but fuck you, Stilettos, you’re not getting us.

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Comlink Joker
Fog's Audios

Comlink Joker

[Recording…Chip capacity 99%]
[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

(The audio starts with moderately distant gunfire and the sound of heavy breathing, Fog’s voice cuts in, sore from smoke and running)
Drek.
Fffffuck.
Alright, there’s not much time.
I just hope you didn’t pry this from my cold body, but got it by some other means. In any case: listen!
For spirit’s sake, just listen!
I failed you. There’s no excuse for that.
I fucked things up and you paid the price. But I found you and Crow‘s with me.
We’ll fix this, I promise.
But you must keep fighting!
I’m aware how tempting it is…cutting a deal with that asshole pretending to be our guide. Been there myself.
Don’t fall for his bullshit, keep struggling, keep swinging, tell him to fuck off!
It’s not too late. It never is, remember?
He may think he’s got you hooked with power and promises. Show him he messed with the wrong girl.
Rook, you’re not a piece. You’re a player. You’re a Fighter.
I know you’re still in there. Don’t you dare to give up. As long as I breathe I’ll come for you and if I have to take that fucker down on his home plane!
Okay. Time’s up, I guess…
Remember:
I won’t let you down, won’t leave you behind.
You’re not alone.
Don’t worry, I gotcha.


[End Audio]

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Suit Up
Fog's Audios

Suit Up

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

Glitzy helped us to find a…business partner.
It’s really scary to have her in business mode. I mean, I don’t talk about that much ‘cause…well, I don’t need to share all personal things here, do I?
Let’s just say during training I’ve had a glance at this woman’s emotional landscape, got an idea of how she ticks and who she is and all that.
Though, when it comes to large scale business she’s the fucking ice queen, I shit you not!
But I digress…we had to choose between a potential buyer in China, where we could be happy if we walk away alive with some pocket money, our local Mafia who’d just gut us alive and take the goods or the Boston Family, who would’ve make a good business partner if we don’t fuck things up.
Seems like an easy choice, but Boston means personal business for Glitzy. Of the unpleasant kind.
We agreed on that anyway.
There’s too much at stake and after all, we’re with her. I’ll take care that she’ll get back alive and well. That’s kinda what I’m around for, anyway, right?

She also told us to suit up so we won’t look like the rag tag band of street scum that we are.
Shit, you have no idea how naked I feel without my suit in these…high class rags. The dirt on my clothes after a trip to the barrens offers more protection than those things and they cost 1k each for spirits’ sake!
On the plus side, we still had the Humvee’s machine gun for sale andScreech made us a good deal.
I also got to knock out two thugs in one swipe with a roundhouse kick who wanted to mug us on my fucking turf.
Guess that’s another tick on my bucket list. Yeah, that’s somewhere between eating a lobster and riding a dragon.
Which…is a weird thing to say if your chummer is a drake…

[End Audio]

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Satellite Day
Neil's Journal

Satellite Day riots

Satellite Day has come and gone and this time, it brought full-out riots. It’s always somewhere between a block party and an opportunity to plunder and go berserk, depending on where you live, but this time people really went full-out. Probably because police were tied up with the factory that burned down and were slow to respond. At the Nest, it was fairly quiet, but then there are much better places to raid that us. But we were still up all night. There was gunfire, even more than usual, and I think a couple of fires got started, but mainly people tried to get into Bellevue to plunder.

Redmond is in a state of emergency, with a curfew and you better have a SIN ready if you want in or out of Touristville.. There are police raids and yesterday, people got arrested and beaten up for so much as breathing in the wrong direction. At least water and electricity have been restored. I went to meet Kowalski because I had a mind to call in one of the favors he owes me, to see if I can find a trace of Miss Patterson. Kowalski did have contacts to the Celavies, but it was the maybe boyfriend of a woman Kowalski once fucked and then cheated upon. That is a train wreck waiting to happen, so I decided to pass.

Kowalski had a run in with some people who either didn’t like his face or wanted to deliver a warning, resulting in broken ribs and a broken jaw. He tried to self-medicate with whiskey, but Babsie and me finally got him to come to the clinic. They have a Doc Wagon contract, so they could have gone to a legit hospital, but Babsie mention the Hollywood Hospital and no. Just no. I want the man to be around a bit longer, if only to be able to call in the favors.

The operation would have gone smoother if Kowalski wasn’t on his way to becoming an alcoholic, but he’ll be okay, no major problems. One day I will haul off and punch him, though, if not for his self-righteousness then for his sexism. He has this giant ‘no homo!’-neon sign every time I touch him and this time, I tried how far I could push and flirted. I went so far and suggested that we could settle his debts in … another way. He squirmed and didn’t even know what to say because shit, if he suggest I’m gay, he probably offends me (like he would be offended) and if he doesn’t he might catch the gay from me. Babsie and me lost it anyway at about that time. It was mean. But it was fucking funny.

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Chocolate
Fairy Fay's Log

We did it! We broke into the factory and we stole a ton of chocolate – really a ton. It’s fake chocolate, though, and maybe we’re fucked because of that, but maybe we can sell it anyway. It tastes just like the real thing at least, so that’s good.

Anyway. We planned to disable the lasers on the roof of the factory and then go in quietly, but then Fog came up with the idea to blackmail some of the mercenaries who guard the factory. And he actually pulled it off, two of them, Static and Spider, agreed to help us for a percentage and we decided to frame the other two who are nutjobs anyway. Give them placebos instead of their medication and let them run wild. They also told us that there was a safe in the basement with cocoa beans – that the really valuable stuff, so we had to steal that. Take one of the lasers from the roof and crack the safe with it.

We made it into the factory alright. Kiki helped us by making us invisible and she stayed topside with Jet to load the chocolate onto the Humvee that we planned to steal as well. Fog and I went down into the basement to tackle the safe. Fog because he knows something about engineering and me because I can stand the heat without gear just by turning into a dragon. And I’m agile enough to operate the laser even so. That worked well and we were just ready to go in and see if Static had told the truth when one of the mercenaries came running down the stairs and attacked us. He managed to dodge my fire, but Fog had him down and out cold in no time. We took three crates of beans, even though they looked weird.

Meanwhile, the shit had been hitting the fan big time. Static had shot the main computer and the alarm was up, so we had only ten minutes or so until backup would arrive. The other mercenary was running amok – we had planned for that, but he was a bit more deadly than we had thought. I’m not even sure what happened, but there were some craters in the tarmac, bullet holes everywhere and the Humvee looked a bit worse for wear. Also, the main generator had just exploded and the factory was starting to burn. We all piled into the car and made it out of there just in time. Static had been hit badly and we almost left them behind because Zach said that he suspected that static had been trying to kill us. But in the end, we took them along.

We could hear the helicopter with the backup coming closer and we lost them in the streets with Zach’s help who jammed their sensors. It helped that there was chaos anyway – it was Satellite Day. On some days, satellite parts will rain onto Seattle and that’s always an occasion for wild parties and often looting, especially in Redmond. So the cops had better things to do than look for us and we loaded our chocolate into Kiki’s van and left the Humvee somewhere.

Now we’re lying low at the chemical plant. First, we wanted to sell the chocolate here in Seattle, but Fog called Glitzy and she told us that she had contacts either in China or in Boston. Boston would be better for us since she had the better connections there. But she didn’t sound too pleased to go there. No idea what the story is. She comes from Boston, I think, and so does Neil, so maybe it’s family-wise? But we’ll fly there with her and try and get a good deal for our stuff.

The beans are algae. That’s why the chocolate is fake and that’s why we have to be extra careful selling the stuff. We’ll probably hang onto the beans because when we sell those, the corporation will no longer be able to keep up their scam and I don’t think I want to piss them off even more. For now, they will get insurance money and some press, no biggie. But if people find out their chocolate is fake…

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The Smell of Hot Chocolate
Fog's Audios

The Smell of Hot Chocolate

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

Yes. Fuck yes.
We did it.
And I personally witnessed atiny dragon going nuclear, or probably optical with a laser on a friggin’ safe.
Got a recording of that, for ‘Tube and matrix millions, in case everything else fails.
Of course there were some minor complications but we got out alive of this spectacular mess.
Everyone pulled their weight and did so fucking well.
The Humvee’s gone, sadly. I like simple yet durable tech. It’s nothing for the Barrens; makes you a target, but it was good having that thing around.
Engine burned out after the arm of a Halloweener got caught in the gears. Satellite Day riots provide a good head start ‘cause it keeps the cops busy, but the streets crawled with gangs and looters.
Static ate a lot of shrapnel and we barely managed to stabilize him, but he’ll pull through.
His stunt of nuking first the facility server and then the generator will cost him some serious money off our deal, but otherwise…a fine job.
Of course, as always, there was some barbed hook. Something was off about those seeds and after some research they proved to be a big fucking fraud. I mean, they got the job done, it was real chocolate, indistinguishable from the original, yet still, it wasn’t genuine. Lindt, or rather Shiawase was ripping off everyone.
Good thing is, their insurance will drown them in money, now that their whole factory blew up, so they have little incentive to go after us with full force.
At least if we learn from past mistakes and stop doing something stupid, like trying to do anything with those seeds or blackmail Shiawase…also means we’re back at whatever the chocolate gets us in a good deal, but that’s more than enough, I’d say.
We’re back at the chemical plant right now, about to store our millions in a safe place until we figured out how to sell all that shit…before Nebraska gorges away on our money.

[End Audio]

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